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seeing is believing

how a webcam gave a family peace of mind

A sweet, snuggly new baby is any mom’s favorite gift. Megan Hein was thrilled to welcome baby Charlie to the family, and big sisters Kenly and Olivia couldn’t wait to hold their real-life baby doll.

But immediately after birth, Charlie began having trouble breathing. “He was trying to cry but there was no sound,” remembers Megan. His care team worked for two hours to stabilize him enough to transfer him to Dayton Children’s Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Baby Charlie was diagnosed with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF), an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea that makes it difficult to breathe and eat. At just three days old, Charlie had surgery to correct the TEF.

Charlie did great in the surgery, but his parents weren’t able to hold him for another seven days due to the tubes helping him breathe and eat.

The Hein family lives an hour and a half away from Dayton Children’s, and with their two older children, Megan and her husband Jake couldn’t be by Charlie’s bedside as often as they wanted. They relied heavily on a special NICVIEW camera, located above Charlie’s bed, to monitor him. This webcam is a new feature in Dayton Children’s NICU, which allows families to log on at home any time to see their baby.

“I was always comfortable leaving Charlie when I needed to, because I knew he was in the best care possible. But NICVIEW provided me with an extra sense of comfort when I couldn’t be there. I basically had it up all the time when I wasn’t at the hospital,” says Megan.

After 16 days in the NICU, Charlie went home. He continues to see specialists at Dayton Children’s for a related condition, which can cause blockages of Charlie’s airway, especially when he eats, making it difficult to breathe. His parents also received training from the care team about how to care for him at home. Happily, he’s expected to grow out of this condition by his first birthday.

For now, Megan and the rest of the Hein family are grateful just to be together, and they can’t stop snuggling with their precious Charlie.

Read more about Charlie’s story, which was featured in Dayton Children’s latest marketing campaign!

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